Clozapine and other atypical, but not typical, antipsychotic drugs (APDs), facilitate both dopaminergic and N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor-mediated glutamatergic transmission in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), which is thought to improve cognition. Switching schizophrenic patients from typical APDs to clozapine may reduce their cigarette smoking. Here, we tested whether nicotine, which facilitates dopamine release, also facilitates NMDA receptor-mediated neurotransmission in the mPFC, when given alone or in combination with a D(2,3) antagonist, raclopride, or a D4 antagonist, 3-(4-[4-chlorophenyl]piperazin-1-yl)methyl-1H-pyrrolo[2,3b]pyridine (L-745,870), using intracellular recording in pyramidal cells of the rat mPFC. Neither nicotine nor raclopride or L-745,870 alone altered NMDA-induced currents in these cells. However, combining nicotine with raclopride or L-745,870 facilitated these currents. Similarly to clozapine the combination of nicotine with raclopride or L-745,870 also markedly potentiated evoked excitatory post-synaptic potentials in the mPFC. Our results support the idea that intense smoking in schizophrenia may represent a form of self-medication with nicotine.
2005. Vol. 8, no 2